Motobene's Color-Based Simplified Section Marking System

Discussion in 'Trials' started by motobene, Oct 17, 2018.

  1. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 51 years Supporter

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    Yeah, that right-left stuff breaks down fast using flags. Note there is no perimeter tape with those sections and in the above example, two runs of perimeter tape does exactly the same thing only with a bit more throw-away material. I do wonder too if they are anal about an 'intended invisible line' between each flag. Can you get a five by veering out between flags?

    SYSTEM DESIGN UPDATE

    I was just on the phone ordering more flags for the next test event with my marking system. I was all happy over adding two striped-pattern flags into my color scheme until I was informed that the patterns are only printed on ONE SIDE! That means the commonly available white and yellow flags with bold stripes, dots, checker patter, or other become solid flags with no patter when the wind blows just so.

    Well that idea crashed in flames! You can't use a solid yellow flag and a black striped yellow flag in the same event. If the wind turns the flag printed side away it becomes a solid yellow flag!

    I'm back to all solid-color flags and I've slipped the problematic green and white flags back in. I did order 200 silver flags just in case. If they prove easily distinguishable from white flags, and they aren't adjacent to white in the color/difficulty hierarchy, maybe silver will allow me to drop the green flags out of the system?

    We shall see.

    Yeah white flags could get hard to see against snow, but at least they are up in the air waving around. I've had printed cards become unreadable when frost covered, whether stapled to trees or on the ground in sandwich bags.

    I have some flag samples coming of patterns printed on clear vinyl. Some particular color pattern may stand out sufficiently on both sides of a clear flag.

    We shall see.

    I also ordered more orange 1-3/16" tape to be able to mark the loop, and section perimeter tape in orange, with start and end gates in orange, just to see how everything but line gates in orange works out. That will either be simple stupid friendly or a bit monotonous or overbearing.

    We shall see!
    #21
  2. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 51 years Supporter

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    Thanks.

    And interesting! So a non-explicitly-sided gate via color ribbon tape around trees. Hmm. Hadn't thought of that and don't really like it, actually. Tape usually means perimeter boundary or split to most brains, and wrapping tape around a tree really doesn't convey what your intended front side is meant to be, other than from section flow, obstacles, other gates, etc.

    Flags can be placed smartly to convey intended front side in those minority of instances where other gates and and anchoring on section perimeter do not determine the front side. For example, if a gate means this class rides this log right here, flags placed on the front side of the log and not right on top, and even hidden from the back side of the log by being pushed farther into the ground with the head of the flag up against the face of the log says a lot about intended gate direction.

    While printed cards explicitly define front side of a gate, they can be poorly placed. Who hasn't ridden a poorly implemented printed card section or event? You know, like those sky-high cards stapled onto trees by the 6-1/2-foot-tall guy with 3-foot arms who doesn't want to bend over to put gates in the line of sight. Or how about gates on the back sides of obstacles facing away from the logical section flow?

    Flags can be poorly placed too. That means that like printed cards, they can be smartly placed. And why not put the onus on the section designers by allowing going through a gate either way if the section design is ambiguous? Punish the section builders rather than riders in those minority of cases. Great section can make make the two alternative directions for the rare gate roughly equal, which just makes things more interesting.

    So what about those times where flag placement is clearly conveying intent and going backward over the above log would give the rider some advantage? That I think would be a rare instance. It's be up to a club how to deal with these oddball instances. The club can say that if the section builder clearly conveyed intended front side by flag placement, then that gate is not to be ridden the other way. And in cases where intent is not clearly not conveyed, as in how both flags are placed, to allow either direction. Almost always, there will be no advantage or even possibility of riding that log backwards from what the section builder intended.
    #22
  3. Norman Foley

    Norman Foley Devotee of the Husqvarna Supporter

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    In my area some trials will use caution tape for the perimeter boundary, and single color tape within it to show the intended way to ride the section. This in part due to some riders consistently riding ridiculously long lines that are within the rules (not crossing your own line or riding another class gate), but clearly not the intent of the section builder.
    #23
  4. lamotovita

    lamotovita DAMN SNOWBIRD! Supporter

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    How does the single color show the intended line? All I can picture is following the single color ribbon.
    I think of Trials as a thinking mans sport, where the riders job is to figure out how to ride the section cleanly, regardless of the section builders intent.
    #24
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  5. Norman Foley

    Norman Foley Devotee of the Husqvarna Supporter

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    The gate markers still determine how you go, but the tape forms a fence on either side of you, so your choices to ride the line are more limited. Yes it's a thinking man's sport, but some riders take it a little too far and as I said ride pretty crazy long lines to avoid an off camber turn or such. It doesn't seem like much, but adds to the "in section" time and then to the logjam of riders queued up in a section.
    #25
  6. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    Take away the all day dab and wham, bam no more line! I hate a trials where I can only ride within 3 foot of ribbon and not find a new line. I live for my own line. That is why i did not win my last event. Last section was too easy and I found a cool line. I had 7 points in that section, but I cleaned it my third loop. Life is much more fun with choices.
    #26
  7. Twin-shocker

    Twin-shocker Long timer

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    Here in the UK events with maybe 4 or even 5 routes through the sections are pretty common. This makes marking out very difficult and as all organisers use different colours its also very confusing for riders.

    Maybe the system used in WTC of arrows pointing the route with provision to attach different colour markers to the arrows to indicate deviations to the main route might work a lot better and make marking out sections easier and less confusing for riders?

    Most of all though the current system in the UK often leads to disputes with checkers with some mainly younger riders becoming rather aggressive and unpleasant. Seems to me there is a real need to sort this situation out and make setting sections easier and possibly lessen the chances of confrontations?
    #27
  8. MT 007

    MT 007 Long timer

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    I always try to give riders as many options as possible and am always happy when somebody dreams up a way of riding a section that I hadn't thought of... I find if I am marking off a section and trying to decide which way might be more difficult I will typically leave both options open and let the rider decide. It can be surprising how what you thought would be the least likely choice ends up being the preferred choice of the riders. We have a 5 second rule on Dabs and typically have fewer than 20 riders so things move along pretty well.
    #28
  9. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 51 years Supporter

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    I am very much not in favor of 'tunnel' lines. Poor section design produces one-solution lines, so why on Earth would anyone force one-solution lines?

    Like lineaway, I think long and hard to ferret out advantageous lines. That's a thinking man's skill.

    It's also a game between section designer and rider. If a section builder misses a 'cheater' line it should be a learning experience for next time. Tunneling with tape, when the tape isn't simply serving as a split indicator and partial restraint, is over constraining.

    Maybe you have lack of suitable terrain issues? That little hump becoming too easy if someone turns crosswise to flow to set up another angle? But there are good and creative was to deal with over moderate terrain without tunneling after gates.
    #29
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  10. You guys need an organizing body to get all your disparate clubs on the same page. That aside, the colored gate marker system is used all over the place: GP, NATC, CET, CIT, my local club, etc. It seems like a complete no brainer to me, especially when I see the flag system in the UK, which I still don't get. I'm sure it works and all, but standardization seems like a good thing in this case.

    As for the riders getting argumentative with checkers thing, you see that here once every five years maybe (at the club level... National level things can get a little more interesting, but riders know checkers are volunteers and they're not going to get abusive, just try to save a few points). There's a reason checkers have the option of handing out 10's for unsportsmanlike conduct. Gotta break out the red card every so often ;)
    #30
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  11. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 51 years Supporter

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    Started in on prep for the HPTA 2-day event at Buffalo Dream Ranch in SWOK 10 & 11 November.

    Mowed all day yesterday. Marking the loop today in orange. Ordered more flags, which must arrive by Wednesday :-0

    This event will be a great refiner of my design. I'm holding off publishing a document and video until after the event because I'm pretty sure I will innovate more. Plus, I need more real world photos and videos.

    My start and end gates are very simple: orange flag with the section number written on start orange flags with nothing on the end flags.

    One issue I thought of yesterday regards a difficulty with all-ride sections: using the better terrain for the upper riders without getting over hard on the bottom two lines. I have some section areas where the rocks are too hard for the lower classes to exit. I don't want to lose the great exit for them.

    I can fix this and still tie into the loop trail with two sets of end gates. I'm thinking both sets are plain orange flags with nothing on them. The uppers will have the blank orange gate. The lowers will also, but their line color flags next to their end gate shows them as having to exit there.

    It works for doubled start gates too.

    This will be the third regional 2-day event with this system, and in its most evolved state.
    #31
  12. Twin-shocker

    Twin-shocker Long timer

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    Heff we have NO fit for purpose organising bodies here in the UK and the various different systems used for marking out sections makes things difficult for experienced riders and even harder for beginners!

    Overly complicated systems with numerous different coloured markers seem the root cause of the problem. Using coloured arrows along WTC lines makes it very easy to see where to go and deviations to the main route would be much easier to indicate.

    Here in the UK abuse of checkers is very common and happens from club level events on up. In my view any rider doing this should be banned from competing for one year.
    #32
  13. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 51 years Supporter

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    Still exhausting myself as a veritable one-man army in section area prep. I love working outdoors in the cool weather and leaf fall!

    As for abuse of checkers, our little club rides in social groups with one rider punching score cards. We don't abuse ourselves. No motivation too!

    I used to hate group checking. Harder to shut off the blah blah world and concentrate. But I am now fond of this method, especially when riding with people I know.

    Have refined the color-based system a bit more by putting the two colors that might on occasion be harder to see in the bottom two positions of the hierarchy.

    Holding back on publishing the revised system until after the event. No better refiner than events!
    #33
  14. MT 007

    MT 007 Long timer

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    This is slightly off topic but I have found that the start and finish gates are actually a handy spot for advertising our local sponsors in theory you could charge for the advertising... we just add it as an extra for sponsors who loan us demo bikes or cover the insurance for our events each year (so we don't need entry fees).

    Start Gate:
    section poster 1.gif

    Finish Gate
    section poster 2.gif
    #34
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  15. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 51 years Supporter

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    Wow, lots of adverts and color! We just stick ours in the ground. Boom-done!

    Here you will see the system in practice last weekend at our year-end 2-day event. The start gates are simply orange flags with the section number. End gates are blank orange flags.

    Demonstrating riding the blue line on Section #7 Saturday is rockhopr. On Saturday afternoon we swapped start and end gates and did 3 minutes of flag editing to create #7 Sunday. Rockhoper and I created Sunday's 8 sections out of Saturday's 8 sections in 1-1/2 hours (total 3 man-hours). The old way of making doesn't easily support this kind of efficiency.

    Note two other lines also in view in the video, yellow and pink:

    Standard Def
    [​IMG]

    High Def
    [​IMG]

    This will help make sense of what you see in the video. The system as adopted for an all-ride format by my regional club, HPTA:

    HPTA Control Sheet.JPG
    #35
  16. MT 007

    MT 007 Long timer

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    Here is ours in action...
    phone pictures 073.jpg
    not hard to pull and switch start and finish... but not really sure if it makes our sponsors happy or not - might be better to just have one big banner at the rider meeting liked this one... (photo courtesy of Kelsow)
    [​IMG]
    #36
  17. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 51 years Supporter

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    You have sponsors!

    :pynd

    We have, uh, nothing like that. Our territory is as big as France.
    #37
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  18. UstaKood

    UstaKood Been here awhile

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    Do the markers coincide rider number plates ?
    #38
  19. MT 007

    MT 007 Long timer

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    I will start a new thread on that topic - I was thinking it made sense to incorporate sponsors as part of the gate marking system but sponsorship itself is probably a whole different topic.
    #39
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  20. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 51 years Supporter

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    Sure, why not? In our club we don't really need color-coordinated number plates. But if that is 'required', something as simple as stick-on color circles works.
    #40
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